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Murder defense for ex-Medford officer will cite mental state

The defense for a former Medford police officer on trial in Washington state for murder is expected to argue that Brian Keith Brush is not guilty by reason of diminished mental capacity.

Brush, 49, is charged with shooting to death Lisa Bonney on Sept. 11, 2009, in Long Beach, Wash. Bonney was a former girlfriend of the defendant, who served with the Medford Police Department from 1988 to 1994 and is the former owner of North River Jet Boat Inc. near Roseburg.

The defense will begin its side of the case Monday in Pacific County Superior Court in South Bend, Wash.

The prosecution rested its case before lunch Wednesday after the jury heard about the volatile relationship between Brush and Bonney, a real estate professional well known in Long Beach.

Prosecutors offered dramatic and graphic testimony from Oregon's deputy state medical examiner, Dr. Clifford Nelson, who performed an autopsy on Bonney.

Over the objection of defense attorney Erik Kupka, Superior Court Judge Michael Sullivan allowed the jury to see autopsy photos.

Nelson testified that Bonney had been shot at close range four times with a shotgun. The final two shots were "not necessary to cause her death. They were to make sure she was dead," Nelson said.

The first shot was described by the pathologist who performed the autopsy as "superficial." The second shot killed her, the court heard when details of the autopsy were revealed.

The shooting happened in late-afternoon sunshine on the Bolstad Beach approach in Long Beach, Wash., as police patrolled the crowds on the first day of the Rod Run in September 2009.

As three officers approached Brush with guns drawn, he tossed away the shotgun and got down on the ground, ready to be handcuffed.

The defense is expected to present testimony from a psychiatrist Monday. Sullivan has ruled Brush is mentally competent and admonished Kupka after he used the word "incompetent" to describe Brush in opening arguments.

Brush faces life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder. Prosecutors have not ruled out seeking the death penalty.

Material from the Mail Tribune, The Associated Press and Northwest News Exchange member newspapers was used in the story.